I've been following Dawn on twitter since I heard about her upcoming YA Horror, The Dead House...
Carly gets the day, Kaitlyn the night…
Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Five people were killed . . . and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin.
Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue. Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit voodoo rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?
Thank you to Dawn for answering some questions...
Your first book is due to be published next year - can you tell us what to expect?
You can expect not to trust this book!
This was announced a while ago, and yet we still have to wait - did you realise being published could be a long process?
I thought I would have to wait longer, to be honest, because I knew that publishing is a slow industry. I was so pleasantly surprised to learn that THE DEAD HOUSE would come out in 2015.
Was there a reason you decided to write within the YA genre?
I was writing YA before I realized it was YA (I thought it was adult fiction). Once I had grown to learn the differences between these two markets, I realized that I loved YA because of the "coming of age" element to YA stories, which I adore. Young people are so much fun to write about because there are a lot of firsts and they start out with a lot of trust.
What differences are there writing YA horror, are there certain things you have to avoid?
I write quite instinctively, and I tend to shy away from writing advice (what works for me may be the death of someone else's process). The best thing I learned for myself was to make every little thing sinister in horror. Even the mundane—even eating breakfast can be horrifying.
Horror in YA seems under-represented, or am I missing some great writers and books? If so, what would you recommend?
I think it is underrepresented. Recent reads that I really enjoyed though, were THE GIRL FROM THE WELL by Rin Chupeco and THE PRICKER BOY by Reade Scott Whinnem and ONE BLOODY THING AFTER ANOTHER by Joey Comeau.
What do you read, are you a horror fan yourself?
I adore horror. I really enjoy books with a strong psychological, mind-bending element to them.
Does this change when you're writing, do you try to read something different to take a break?
I can ready anything when I write (and I don't experience the transference that some writers do while writing and reading), but I can't read at all when I'm editing.
As for horror in general, are you a fan? What films would you recommend?
I definitely am. I love films like The Tale of Two Sisters, Martyrs, Shutter, The Conjuring, Insidious, The Skeleton Key, Eden Lake, Session 9, The Changeling (1980), The Skin I Live In, Silent Hill, Triangle (and so many more!)
Once the publication excitement is over, what can we expect next from you?
I'll let you know when I do!